THE BLOG

Our  Blog is to help Christian wrestle with the deeper issues of how their faith relates to the world around them. Christians today are facing a set of challenges unique to their generation.           With an emphasis on personal experiences, our goal is to share the word of God in his wisdom with those struggles and triumphs of life through the lens of the Christian faith. 


SACRED ROMANCE WITH GOD, EXPERINCE GOD LOVE NOW!!!

  “Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to Him, so He can show you His love” Isaiah 30:18
I read a book entitled The Sacred Romance. The author calls God’s love for us, “The Sacred Romance.” And he calls the enemy’s attempts to lure us away from God, “The Arrows.”
Here is an excerpt that touched my heart deeply:

   “Indeed, if we listen, a Sacred Romance calls to us through our heart every moment of our lives. It whispers to us on the wind, invites us through the laughter of good friends, reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love. We heard it in our favorite music, sensed it at the birth of our first child, have been drawn to it while watching the shimmer of a sunset on the ocean. The Romance is even present in times of great personal suffering; the illness of a child, the loss of a marriage, the death of friend. Something calls to us through experiences like these and rouses an inconsolable longing deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty and adventure.

 This longing is the most powerful part of any human personality. It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive.” This longing is real. This longing is God-given and cannot be satisfied by anyone or anything but God.

When I first read the book, memories came to mind about times when I knew for sure God was there in a very special, but quiet way. There were the times when, as a pre-teen, I’d go fishing in the in the stream that ran through our dairy farm. It was so quiet yet God’s presence was so real. Can you think of a time like that? I knew God loved me very much shortly after the death of my brother, Frank. God gave me two dreams where my brother was alive. After the last one, I awoke and said to God, “Let me look at him a little while longer.” And He did.

I know God shows his love for me when I see the miracle of a new baby – at the birth of each of our children and grandchildren. God brings so much joy, fun and delight into our lives as we watch these little ones develop. He gives us joy! I know He loves me when He gives the words of wisdom or kindness to help a person understand how much God loves them. I know God loves me whenever my husband, Marvin, smiles at me. He is the light of my life.

God is waiting to show us His love in all of its fullness – in our joy and in our sorrow. Sometimes we are just too busy to recognize Him. There is nothing more significant I could wish and pray for you than that you would take the time to recognize the “Sacred Romance” in your life. I want to encourage you to reflect and make a list of times when God has shown you that He is your “Sacred Romance.”

  Father, thank You for pursuing us. Thank You for loving us so much for providing those special moments of “Sacred Romance.” Help us to recognize them. God, help us to receive all the love You have for us. Amen.

Daily Devotion

 October 2020

Give Jesus Your Boat

    “Jesus saw two boats … He got into one … they let down their nets … they caught such a large number of fish their nets began to break.” Luke 5:1-11

What is it you are afraid to give God? Your career? children? business? finances?

Peter was fascinated by Jesus. Perhaps this was the long-awaited Messiah. He certainly taught with authority and performed miracles. But then one day Jesus stepped into one of Peter’s precious boats, the tools of his livelihood, symbols of his success in the community, means for providing for his family.

Not only did Jesus commandeer Peter’s boat, but He had the audacity to give Peter fishing advice: “Put out into deep water and let down the nets.” Peter responded just as we might have: “Jesus, I know you’re good at what you do, and I’m quite willing to follow you in religious ways, but after all I’m the expert at fishing.”

I’m sure Peter let out a sigh of resignation before saying, “But since you say so, I will let down the nets.” What followed was a fisherman’s dream: a catch larger than anything Peter and his fisherman brothers had ever seen.

Jesus knew Peter needed to learn that when we give God our boats, our careers, children, business, finances He will bless and lead us on to fulfillment we never dreamed possible. Jesus had a far brighter future for Peter than mere fishing. He just needed a boat.

Master, help us give up our boats which are really only symbols of our own accomplishment. Help us trust you with all that we have and are and then expectantly wait for all that you wish to do in and through us..

November 2020

Great Anticipation

Looking back at the different phases in our life is like reviewing a book. Each chapter starts with great anticipation and usually ends with reflection and questions of tomorrow.
Following through the story line one can see how each chapter builds on the previous. There are high points and low points, excitements and sorrows, yet throughout the whole story one can definitely see the hand of God’s provision. When choosing to follow God, He puts some very interesting adventures in our path. By putting Him first we can look forward to tomorrow with great anticipation!

My prayer for you
I pray that as you think about tomorrow that you are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, rather than worrying about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear, knowing that all these things will be given to you as well because your heavenly Father knows that you need them. And that you do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Amen.“ Matthew 6:25-34

 December 2020

THE PROMISED OF GOD

    “But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.2 Corinthians 1:18-22

The Christian life rests on a foundation of God’s promises for today and for the future. We can trust everything that our heavenly Father has said because His Word shows Him to be…

Truthful. The Lord knows what is true and speaks honestly in all matters. We can be assured of this because He is holy; there is no sin in Him. He is also omniscient and understands everything
(Hebrews 4:12-13). His promises are based on His infinite knowledge and truthfulness.

Faithful. Scripture compares the Lord to a shepherd who “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV). What He has planned for us, He will bring to fruition (Romans 8:28). Our heavenly Father does not waver in His intentions or will.

Loving. God’s love for us was demonstrated at the cross. He sent His Son Jesus to die by crucifixion and thereby take the punishment for our sins. The Savior experienced God’s wrath against iniquity so we might know only His love. This is the ultimate proof of His devotion to us.

All-powerful. Divine power created the world and raised the Savior back to life, so we know God has the ability to carry out all His plans. Our omnipotent Father can keep every one of His promises.

A promise is valuable only if the one making it has trustworthy character and the ability to carry through. Our heavenly Father is truthful, faithful, loving, and all-powerful. We can base our entire life on His promises, secure in the knowledge that He will do just as He has said.

Choosen the Uncommon Life

Joseph did. Matthew describes Jesus’ earthly father as a craftsman (Matthew 13:55).

He lives in Nazareth: a single-camel map dot on the edge of boredom. Joseph never speaks in the New Testament. He does much. He sees an angel, marries a pregnant girl, and leads his family to Bethlehem and Egypt. He does much, but says nothing.

A small-town carpenter who never said a Scripture-worthy word. Is Joseph the right choice? Doesn’t God have better options? An eloquent priest from Jerusalem or a scholar from the Pharisees? Why Joseph? A major part of the answer lies in his reputation: he gives it up for Jesus. “Then Joseph [Mary’s] husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly“(Matthew 1:19).

Mary’s parents, by this point, have signed a contract and sealed it with a dowry. Mary belongs to Joseph; Joseph belongs to Mary. Legally and matrimonially bound.

Now what? His fiancee is pregnant, blemished, tainted ; he is righteous, godly. On one hand, he has the law. On the other, he has his love. The law says, stone her. Love says, forgive her. Joseph is caught in the middle. But Joseph is a kind man. “Not wanting to disgrace her, [he] planned to send her away secretly” (v. 19 NASB).

A quiet divorce. How long would it stay quiet? Likely not long. But for a time, this was the solution.

Then comes the angel. “While he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (v. 20).

Mary’s growing belly gives no cause for concern, but reason to rejoice. “She carries the Son of God in her womb” the angel announces. But who would believe it? Who would buy this tale? Envision Joseph being questioned by the city leaders.

“Joseph,” they say, “we understand that Mary is with child.”

He nods.

“Is the child yours?”

He shakes his head.

“Do you know how she became pregnant?”

Gulp. A bead of sweat forms beneath Joseph’s beard. He faces a dilemma. He makes his decision. “Joseph took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matthew 1:24-25).

Joseph tanked his reputation. He swapped his reputation for a pregnant fiancee and an illegitimate son and made the big decision of discipleship. He placed Gods plan ahead of his own.

Would you be willing to do the same? God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one. “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25 NLT).
Would you forfeit your reputation to see Jesus born into your world?

God Bless you

Did You Know You’re Someone Special?

Marjorie grew up with with a sense of worthlessness. Again and again her father said she would never accomplish anything in life. He told her she was a loser and that anything she did try was sure to end in failure. With these words ringing in her ears she grew up looking for someone who would love her and see her as a person of worth. This led her into relationships that were disappointing to her, ending in pain and devastation with yet another proof that she was worthless and unlovable. Maybe you can identify with Marjorie and your story is much like hers. Where does our sense of self worth come from? 

It is true that the foundation for a person’s self-worth is laid in the home. Words that we hear in our home can build or tear down our worth as a person. The Bible speaks of words of life and death in Prov.18:21 where it says, ”Death and life are in the power of the tongue,…” As we hear words of affirmation and encouragement they are words of life to us while words of criticism and belittling are words of death. Other people like teachers, friends, employers and spouses add to the collection of life-giving or death words in a person’s heart. Over time a person begins to see themselves in the light of these words. Is this the final word or is there hope that one can develop a sense of worth as a person?

If we look in the Scriptures we see that God never meant it to be this way. He speaks words of life into the heart of every person. We read in Genesis that when God completed the creation of the world he made man in his likeness or image. This likeness gave man and later also the woman he made the capacity to think, to make decisions, to know right from wrong, to be creative and to have the ability to communicate and have a personal relationship. Not only did God put this potential in the heart of man and woman he also gave them an assignment to use these abilities. They were told to rule over the things he had created and give to each a name. Herein lies the potential to organize, care, and to be in charge.

Although the assignment to be fruitful is linked to increasing in number it could also indicate creativity in other areas. Fruitfulness can also speak of the outcome of our labour, of putting our God given creativity to work in a job, a home based business, our homes or in areas where God has given us a creative interest which every person possesses who is created in the image of God. Fruit speaks of a beautiful outcome of our labors.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the creation of man is God seeing the need for man to be in a relationship, to have a companion. God places this need and capacity into the heart of each person. Each has the potential to be a friend, a companion, a helper or a person of influence.

This is what God had in mind when he created you. He created you in his image so that you could think, make choices, use your creativity, build relationships, faithfully work at the tasks in your hand and be a person of influence in the lives of others.

But that’s not all. This was only the beginning. In Psalms 139 he says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and describes the creation of each person with words like “knit together” and “woven together” and “ordaining our days” all of which require a plan by a great creator. God had a plan for each of our lives and put together each person with abilities, personality and potential.

But the greatest evidence of our worth is that he loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us when we were sinners and totally unlovable. We were worth it to him. But there’s more to that as well. When we believe that Jesus died for us and we accept his forgiveness we become his child. A son and daughter of the King of Kings. As we live in that relationship with him we begin to reflect his godly character and we produce the fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians 5:22-23 as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The beauty of this fruit in our lives makes each of us a person of impact and influence.

No matter what “words of death” others have spoken about you God’s view of you rises above those words and he speaks “words of life” into your heart today. He says, “I created you in my image, I gave you abilities to rule, organize, manage your area of life, I gave you a creativity that if followed will bring you joy, I made you to be a companion or friend to someone, to be a person of influence, you are precious to me, I loved you so much that I gave my son to die for you and now I want you to be my representative to share this love with others on earth. ”

God made you a person of worth. He decided when he planned your life what abilities he would give to you. We all have varying amounts of ability to organize, lead, create or influence but we have the choice as to what we want to do with that which God has entrusted to us. God also gives us opportunities where we can use these abilities. The fruitfulness depends on how we care for, cultivate and use each of these abilities which in turn results in the fruitfulness of influencing the lives of the people God has placed in our world whether they be children, spouses, employees, friends or neighbors. You are special to God and he wants to use you to speak “words of life” into the lives of those around you.

God Bless you.


Broken but Made Beautiful

I first met her when I asked her to teach clay modeling to our group of campers at a summer Bible camp. She told me about how she loved her work with clay and how she had just recently purchased a kiln to bake her clay creations. When I asked her how she got started in her work of clay modeling she told me her story.

Her son, who was born mentally challenged due to brain damage at birth, had passed away at the age of 15, several months before I met her. She told me how working with the clay had helped her to get through those difficult days of caring for him during those years. Her life had been broken through this difficulty but God had made something beautiful out of her brokenness. While working with the clay God had been at work molding her life and now I was seeing the beauty created by God the master potter.

I was delighted when Anne consented to come several times during the camp session to teach the campers the art of clay modeling. On her first day she gave each camper a lump of soft gray colored clay and after a few instructions let them mold their little clay vessels. At the end of the craft session we had an assortment of vases, pots and dishes of various shapes and sizes. Anne instructed me to put them in a warm, dry place until she would return for the next lesson. I chose what I thought would be a good place and then in the busyness of my daily schedule forgot about them until the day of her return.

A few hours before the time of her next craft session I checked my collection of clay pots. To my dismay they were anything but beautiful – almost without exception each one had a crack. I quickly concluded I had chosen the wrong place to store them, so when she returned I apologized for what, to me, seemed like a disaster zone. To my surprise, Anne quietly said, “Oh, that’s okay we can easily repair them” Then mixing up her clay she began to repair each one. As she worked she said, “ You know, this is just the way God works with each one of us. We too, often find ourselves cracked and broken and God, the master potter, fills the cracks and makes us beautiful. We are never too broken that he can not repair and fill the broken areas in our life.

In the Bible we read about God sending Jeremiah to visit the potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:1-6). Jeremiah watches the potter mold a vessel from the soft clay. As he works the vessel is marred or spoiled so he reworks it and makes something beautiful out of it. As Jeremiah watches the potter God says that the people of Israel are like clay in his hands that he wants to shape them as he sees best. In 2 Cor. 4:7 people are also referred to as jars of clay in which God’s glory dwells.
It would seem to me that we are all in the potter’s house being shaped and molded.

God holds us in his hand and molds us through the different experiences in life. Sometime he makes little changes and other times he fills the cracks and closes them up. Or maybe sometimes the cracks remain so that the glory of his presence within us can shine out through those very cracks for others to see. The difficulties of life which to us may seem to be unfair and meaningless may well be opportunities for God, the master potter to make us into a vessel of honor and blessing.

Thinking about how God mends our brokenness, I had to think of Peter in the Bible when he denied Jesus before his crucifixion and said he didn’t even know him. It says he wept bitterly, when he realized how he had failed the Lord. He must have felt that his relationship with the Lord was over. Peter experienced total brokenness. But then Jesus meets him again at the breakfast on the seashore after his resurrection (John 21). In his gentle and loving way he calls Peter back and touches his brokenness, giving him a new assignment to feed his sheep. We know that Peter then became a person of influence and blessing to the early church as well as to Christians throughout the ages. God had repaired his brokenness and made him a clay vessel that brought glory to God

As we travel the journey of life God gives us the choice to become clay in his hands.

As we invite him into our life he lovingly begins his work of molding us and making us into a vessel of honor and blessing. We can come with our cracks and brokenness and he will make something beautiful out of our life. Even when we have made a mess of things, maybe by making wrong choices, God can repair and bring healing so we will display his glory. How encouraging to think that with God we are never too spoiled, too cracked, too broken. With him there is always hope. With him there is always a another chance. Will you meet me at the Potter’s House?

by Elfrieda Nikkel


Let us hear from you

Have you ever opened up your heart to God and asked Him to enable you to become the person He created you to be? If you would like to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you can say this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.

It starts with a simple prayer. But it doesn’t end there.

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

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TEMA

Contacts

Email: info@christianempirechapel.org 
Phone: +233 - 555-984-058